Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – In Your Defence By Sarah Langford

Here is the good reads blurb…

SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

‘A thoughtful, elegant book. … often as thrilling as a detective novel. ‘ – Thomas Grant, QC The Times.
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Sarah Langford is a barrister. Her job is to stand in court representing the mad and the bad, the vulnerable, the heartbroken and the hopeful. She must become their voice: weave their story around the black and white of the law and tell it to the courtroom. These stories may not make headlines but they will change the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary ways. They are stories which, but for a twist of luck, might have been yours.

With remarkable candour, Sarah describes eleven cases which reveal what goes on in our criminal and family courts: these are tales of domestic fall out, everyday burglary, sexual indiscretion, and children caught up in the law. They are sometimes shocking and they are often heart-stopping. She examines how she feels as she defends the person standing in the dock. She also shows us how our attitudes and actions can shape not only the outcome of a case, but the legal system itself.

This is a strange book, it is fascinating and does provide an insight into the world of the defence system but in some ways, it is lacking. you do begin to understand that the barrister generally has very little direct contact with their clients until the day of court. They do not always know the full backstories or the details of their clients day to day existence, and I think this is part of my issue with the book.

I am a lover of true crime, I am used to being told every detail leading up to the crimes, to knowing what happened next what happens after the trial and sentencing, I am used to seeing the full story. In this book, you only see a glimpse into this world. While the stories are each different and explore numerous aspects of the defence system in the different types of court you find yourself wanting more. Yes, in one aspect that certainly demonstrates the quality of the writing and the well-selected range of cases but it also means at the end of the book you are left feeling slightly unfulfilled.

I would still recommend the book for those who are interested in the law process and getting a better understanding of how the defence system works, it would be a good book to read on the beach or on a commute as the stories are easy to put down and pick up again, but if you are expecting a true-crime style detail-packed book you will be disappointed.

I give this 3.5 stars out of 5 and as usual, will round up on Goodreads as they do not allow for half marks.

 

Highs and Lows · Thoughts on thursday

A Space to Think

Okay its finally done if a little cluttered still.

It is amazing what you can do with an old desk, a couple of old bookcases and some MDF lol, at the minute it is rather cluttered still as I have lots of things that were stacked in different places awaiting me sorting them and as the room needs decorating that will get done before the desk gets arranged completely to my satisfaction.

I have around ten box files and about twenty arch lever files full of stuff from college and uni, and while I am loathe to get rid of any of it am sure if I am honest it can be trimmed and organised better to fit into fewer files and all the loose paperwork which has strayed needs sorting out so the huge pile you see there will disappear.

As you can see I found even more note pads and pens as I cleared up, some I have not got a clue what is in them and a few house a couple of treasures including a drawing I did of an Elephant and some lovely simple ink line drawings which I shall share at a later date (okay slightly bigheaded I know buti do actually really love them and had forgotten all about them)

Moving round a little you can see some of my herd of elephants again in moving things I found some I had forgotten I even had (there are about a hundred still packed away with assorted other ornaments I do need a bigger house really).  Also some of my bookmarks this is my new collecting ‘thing’ as they are more practical then the elephants and take up less space.

More of the herd plus a few dragons mixed in and another pile of notebooks to go through.  I know some people like a nice clear work space but I love having things around me that have special meaning most of these were bought by my daughter for me over the years.

Finally the chair, it belonged to Lee’s grandad who passed away a few years ago and is far more comfy than the desk chair, when I type I sit forward and am at the perfect heigh, while I muse I can sit back and relax, it also doubles as my shawl holder if you were wondering lol.

Anyway that is my new space hope you like it, can’t wait till the clutter goes down and the rest can be spread out a little.  Now to explore some more of those notebooks….

Highs and Lows · Thoughts on thursday

Roll On the Changes

This is not my desk but represents what it is a pretty basic corner desk, but not for long after the chaos dies down on monday, all the boxes are gone from daughter moving out and the man has been to hopefully fix the boiler (it needed parts) I intend to perform a little DIY on my basic desk and expand it to make it more practical to use.

While my laptop my be holding on my sanity is finally cracking, I need space.  Everytime I try to do anything constructive all the things I have piled in my tiny makeshift corner/office descend upon me like a landslide and it is starting to get very annoying.  It doesn’t help that my little corner has also become a hidey hole for anything retrieved from the puppy, that photos and files are now entwined with random wires and chargers.

Virginia Woolf spoke of needing a room of one’s own and never has it been so true for me, admittedly the desk will have to occupy a corner of my bedroom still as we do not have a spare room to be converted to an office and it will be at least 12 years before the monster leaves home so I do hope any move in the meantime will take this into account but for now just the idea of a designated workspace is bliss.

Robin Coyle has been blogging about strong vs weak words which I have scribbled on a white board do they help no…because the white board is hidden behind the laptop down here but in my new space will hang where it can be seen.  Likewise the board full of prepositions provided by Josh Mosley, all useful info if it can actually be seen, to be able to once again hang my corkboard with ideas pinned to it, to have my reference books and dictionaries close at hand instead of going on a search each time I need my thesaurus.

As I am still in facebook limbo I have plenty of time to dream up my modifications so that hopefully by midweek I shall be sat at my new improved desk sharing pics of my creation.

Sometimes Sundays

Weekly Round Up #11

Well as you will have gathered it has been a rather exciting weekend for me.  The week however was plagued by technical issues which have limited my time with the laptop so last weeks targets….

1) Keep up with blogging as best I can as computer allows

2) Read read and read some more

3) Work on ghost stories idea in notebook

4) try to read QofA (this is how I shall henceforth refer to the novel to save time lol)

5) Try to get some work done on th ghost story collection

went straight out of the window however onwards and upwards.  My daughter has retruned from housesitting and as we have a week before she moves out i can at least promise a post each day this week.  I shall also try to get some extra posts scheduled just incase this one dies between her moving out and payday.  I am really behind now reading blogs and was tempted I admit to hit delete but I wont I promise I shall catch up eventually so bear with me.

Okay so targets for this week

1) 5k words towards the ghost story collectiion I have the outlines time to start writing

2) Ms Katykins and I are considering a read along for the Mysteries of Uldopho by Anne Radcliffe for next month so I need to work out how we are going to do it and get a post prepared please if you have the book and fancy reading along let me know

3) Get my boiler fixed lol it has died again so will be calling them out in the morning the laundry is piling up because the lovely summer we are having is not helping in getting clean washing dried

4) Get all daughters stuff ready for her leaving and then work out how I am going to make use of the extra space lol am looking forward to actually being able to get to my desk and get it set up properly I am coming to the conclusion a designated work space and time will be a definite plus

5) Make a note of some of my book marks incase they dont swap over when I change computers am thinking if I create a word doc then copy and paste the links into it that might be the best way to do it

I hope everyone has a great week and gets good news themselves

Awards · So it's Saturday

Extra Catch Up Post

Ms Katykins decided that I didn’t accept enough awards on sunday so she has thrust another at me.  If you haven’t already checked out her blog you really should, no honestly you should, yes she is slightly obssessed with tea but she lives in scotland its cold up there she needs all the warming up she can get lol.

Here are the rules for the award:

You will find your Top Recent Commentor’s on your site stats page on the bottom, right corner. If you do not see this, click on the Screen Options in the top, right corner and be sure that “Comments” is checked.
If you are good about responding to every comment, then you will be the first one in the list.
It is the next six commenter’s on the list that you will nominate and pass this award to.
But wait! You may nominate one more person. This person can either be a brand new commenter on your blog, the very last comment you have received (most recent), or the one who has posted your most favourite comments. This seventh nomination is your choice, but please do tell us why you have chosen them as your seventh.

maggiemyklebust

Rhonda

Vikki (The View Outside)

mskatykins

robincoyle

M.S. Fowle

 

Also Marion over at Creative Noodling came up with some more weekend questions so here we go..

What’s your favorite beauty tip?

I actually got my best make up tip years ago from a transexual in the toilets of a gay bar in Mamchester, it was four in the morning my make up had slid off my face but theirs was still perfect the tip they gave me was leave at least 5 minutes between layers, put your moisturiser on go away have a cig/iron your top, but your concealer/foundation on do the same them powder do the same then apply the rest of your make up and I have to say it worked

 

How do you cope with stress?

Depends where I am if possible go for a walk or meditate, failing that turn the music on full blast and try to sing myself happy

 

If you had to gain ten pounds what would you eat to gain the weight?

You can tell Marion wasn’t thinking of me when she came up with this one, I am one of those people who only has to look at food to put weight on but to play along Ben & Jerrys Cookie Dough Icecream

 

If you were going to run away from your current life where would you go?

That is so tempting right now (looks round at the toddler and the puppy dragging the cushions across the floor playing tuggy) somewhere quiet and isolated maybe a desert island preferably a hot one but still with internet access a couple of hours a day so I could blog about how peaceful it was

 

What the funniest penis name you’ve ever heard (not from a movie)?

Ermmm my mind has gone blank for this one I guess tiddler because it really doesn’t impress a girl now does it!!!!!!!!!!!

 

On route back from the hospital I indulged in some retail therapy as a bargain bookshop was having a clearance sale ready for a refit here are by buys,

Sometimes Sundays

Weekly Round Up #9

Well if I say it has been a week I wish I could forget that would be an understatement, as most of you guessed from last nights post things are a little stressful at the minute,loving someone who has depression is draining, I do not know at this point whether things are damaged beyond repair, but I have been in worse places than this before and have pulled through.  It is true sometimes we do not realise how strong we are until after the fact and though at the minute I am tired and weary, I pick myself up and face another day, thankyou to you all for your comments of support both here and on facebook after reading, I did not intend to let so much out but once I started it came and I could not hold back the tide.  Of course it always comes in threes so on top of the personal stuff the monster flooded the bathroom which came through the kitchen ceiling and I have no electric in the kitchen, while this is a good excuse for take aways I need to get some washing done so a trip to the laudrette tomorrow if it still wont come back on without throwing the switch then a call for a repairman.  On top of that my phone stopped working on Wednesday I thought it was the handset that was broken so off I went today and bought a new one after much wrigging of arms behind furniture I switched it…nothing.  So after what seemed like an eternity on hold while they ran line tests my suppliers told me they need to send an engineer out on Monday, great I will get my phone fixed the down side I have to move two huge fully laden book shelves and the tv cabinet for the engineer to get access, what fun.

I set two targets last week..

1) Do some reading that means blogs and books

2) keep up with the schedule and relax

I don’t even need to go there do I……
So for this week here goes…

1) Read through Queen of Ages check for any typos I missed

2) 5000 towards the Ghost stories Collection

3) Do some reading

4) Schedule a nervous breakdown
Now as a bonus today as I depressed you all so much last night I want to share my day with you, well a couple of hours of it, in an attempt at normality we took the monster to the food festival that is on here in Huddersfield I indulged in a little retail therapy and spent far too much on crap but what the hell enjoy the pics, am going to try to add captions to them all and slow it so you can read them if I can rather than post each pic individually.

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Monday Musings · Reading Challenges

Austen in August Reading Challenge

I decided to sign up for one of the many reading challenges flying around the blogosphere and take part in Austen in August hosted by Roof Beam Reader. Clicking on the image below will take you to the post…

I have two reasons for joining this one first I love Austen that in itself would be a reason but also it gives me the chance to revisit one of her books and read another book from my 1001 book list.

Okay  there were some guidelines….. the goal is to read as many of Jane Austen’s novels as you want/are able, during the month of August.  Biographies and re-reads also count.  Well I have lots to choose from as Austen was to be my dissertation subject.

Now to start with I was just going to use the excuse to re-read Pride & Prejudice but instead I have picked four to start with that are in some way austen related..

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe, I don’t need to say much about this one except I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet, for those who are not Austen fans this is the book one of her characters reads in my second choice.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen of all her full novels this is the one I have read the least despite studying it at Uni so it will be interesting to read it after the Radcliffe book which influences it.

Then two free ebook downloads

Behind Jane Austen’s Door by Jennifer Frost this is what goodreads says about it ….Need to escape the modern world? Step back into Jane Austen’s world with Behind Jane Austen’s Door. Join the author, Jennifer Forest, as she takes you on an easy to read, non-academic tour of a Regency house.
Jane Austen did not place her stories in palaces or on the battlefields, but in that one building so important, then and now: the home. The house, and lack of a home are key to Jane Austen’s novels. Marriage was more than just a romantic alliance for Elizabeth Bennet or Elinor Dashwood. It also meant a home of their own, and a valued role as mistress of the house and estate.
But to get that home, to secure that marriage, Jane Austen’s women had to walk a tightrope of social expectation, field off competitors and rise above their embarrassing family situation, all while remaining true to themselves.
Behind Jane Austen’s Door takes you on a tour of a Regency house, room by room, to explore these delicate challenges and the beautiful lives of Jane Austen’s women.

And finally Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliot goodreads says...Mr. Darcy’s younger sister searches for her own happily-ever-after.
The year is 1814, and it’s springtime at Pemberley. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have married. But now a new romance is in the air, along with high fashion, elegant manners, scandal, deception, and the wonderful hope of a true and lasting love.
Shy Georgiana Darcy has been content to remain unmarried, living with her brother and his new bride. But Elizabeth and Darcy’s fairy-tale love reminds Georgiana daily that she has found no true love of her own. And perhaps never will, for she is convinced the one man she secretly cares for will never love her in return. Georgiana’s domineering aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has determined that Georgiana shall marry, and has a list of eligible bachelors in mind. But which of the suitors are sincere, and which are merely interested in Georgiana’s fortune? Georgiana must learn to trust her heart and rely on her courage, for she also faces the return of the man who could ruin her reputation and spoil a happy ending, just when it finally lies within her grasp

It would be nice to fit Pride & Prejudice in before the last one but I shall have to see how I go time wise

Sometimes Sundays

Weekly Round Up #5

As followers of my blog will know I got slightly sidelined this week over the Lennox issue, and while it is tempting to let you know over every campaign and petition out there that is not what this blog is about.  This blog was set up  to share my writing journey and this week it has been quite some journey I have learnt writing poetry while upset is not good for me it takes me to a dark place where I have no wish to travel at this time.  I have learnt how to force my mind to focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions ie turn the internet off while writing and do not turn it back on to check frequently.  And most importantly I have learnt the value of fresh eyes when editing I want to especially thank my fb friend Susan and Heidi for patiently reading through my edited chapters and picking up on all my typo’s and pointing out where something didn’t quite read right to them.  We have had some fun translating english/american spelling differences but we are getting there understanding each others spellings lol.  So lets see how I did on the tasks for this week…

 

1) The novel is divided into three parts so this week I want to edit part one

Nearly but not quite but as I completed 8 out of 27 chapters it is nearly a third so I can live with that

2) The usual promise of a book review, a poem and a flash fiction

Delivered all three this week yay! Reviewed Third War, wrote a poem from a characters point of view here and posted a flash fiction even if it was an old one here

3) Write up two pieces of flash into the note book

I actually managed to write up three so quite pleased with that

4) Start working on synopsis of novel for submission

Well mentally I started thinking about it does that count?

5) Fit some reading in I have so many books waiting to be read and ones waiting where I promised reviews I need to make more of an effort

Not done too well on the reading if it was a school report would ‘say must try harder’

 

So now some tasks for this week

1) Edit to end of part to of WIP

2) Usual regular posts of book review, flash fiction and poem

3) Catch up on reading blogs again have fallen behind this week

4) Do some reading I will try harder this week lol

5) Start writing the synopsis and thinking about the letter I need to send aswell about why I deserve the bursary.

I have a couple of posts to reply to tomorrow one award and another set of tag questions to answer so at least that is a blog or two taken care of lol I am still debating joining the austen in August reading challenge I need to think about what books I can read for that if I do or maybe I am just looking for an excuse to read Pride & Prejudice again while the TBR pile is still growing

How has your week been?

Sometimes Sundays

Weekly Round Up #4

Well despite not hitting all my targets it has been a productive week nevertheless.  Ther first draft of my WIP is finally finished YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, I know now the hard work starts but I still did a happy dance.  I have taken today off from writing other than this post and start refreshed tomorrow.

Not much really been going on here this week other than writing as the weather has been terrible infact the only creatures happy right now are ducks as the river has flooded it’s banks and they have more space.  I am lucky I live on top of a big hill so no canoe needed yet.  I have rearranged the living room this morning which was fun and while moving a bookcase found some books I thought I had lost.

So lets see how well I did with last weeks targets….

1) I will finish the novel this week and start editing the first two chapters.

Well I did finish it but have not started editing yet

2) The usual promise of one book review, one flash fiction, one poem.

Well no book review this week but you got a poem, Crash and one flash Interfacing which considering sci fi is not my thing I got some really great comments on which were really appreciated.

3)  I am going to sort out all my note books and get more organised

Well I sorted them out sort of lol I got my poetry notebook sorted and up to date as well as my ideas note book the only one still to finish sorting is the one for Flash Fiction.  As that one obviously requires quite a bit of time to write everything up then I shall continue updating it a little at a time.

4) I have a couple of books by fellow bloggers I want to get stuck into this week am hoping to finish at least two

I have been really bad I have been so busy writing I have hardly picked a book up this week but I just need to organise my time better to read a few pages each day especially if i want to complete my reading challenge and make a dent in my TBR pile

5)  Tidy up a few things here on the blog make sure all my links are up to date and update the blog roll

As you will have noticed there are more names on the blog rolls I have updated the lists and increased the number of links that show, I have it set up to show them randomly now so that each time anyone comes to the page a few different ones get the chance of someone clicking and coming over. I was going to add a favourites list but I just couldn’t choose I love all your blogs I visit.

 

So targets for next week…

1) The novel is divided into three parts so this week I want to edit part one

2) The usual promise of a book review, a poem and a flash fiction

3) Write up two pieces of flash into the note book

4) Start working on synopsis of novel for submission

5) Fit some reading in I have so many books waiting to be read and ones waiting where I promised reviews I need to make more of an effort

Anyway folks have a great week and wish me luck with the editing.

Reblogs · Sometimes Sundays

Taking the Plunge

So many new things happening right now first and probably least interesting to most is that I finally joined Pinterest.  There are so many images and ideas that bombard the senses out there that it is impossible to mentally store them all. Like wise the computer only has a certain amount of memory so hopefully this will workout as somewhere to store the mental images that have stirred my imagination recently.  Please feel free the click on the image on the side bar and wander over and see if anything hits the spot for you.

Every book needs a home is my favourite board I have created so far as it is a range of dream libraries and cool bookshelves.  I have visited of couple of these libraries and they never fail to take my breath away. But one thing does slightly bother me…in the magestic libraries of my imagination the shelves are filled with those fabulous leather bound volumes of old.  Will libraries filled with modern books ever look quite as good?

Second big thing after considering the post by Robin Coyle I reblogged here I decided what the hell and signed up to Blogs for the kindle.  Now if I am honest do I really believe someone is going to pay to read my blog well…nope.  What I can hope for is it leads a few extra people here to take a look around and maybe a few will decide to stay.  Right now I am pending approval so will let you know how it turns out.

The last piece of news is I did it..I finally bit the bullet and submitted the short story.  Following the generous feed back I recieved from Gillian at BlackDoorPress I made a few corrections and emailed in the submission before I have time to over think it.  I know if I leave it there I will be tempted to go back and mess with it or over analyse it to the point where I lose all confindence in what I have done so it is done all my focus can return to the novel.

And with that off I go to get some work done on it. Enjoy your sunday!!!!!!!